Nandarō (なんだろう, lit. What Is It?) is a mascot character designed by Hayao Miyazaki at Studio Ghibli for the 40th anniversary of the Nippon Television Network. The character was unveiled through a series of commercial spots that aired in November 1992, notably in the short animated series Sora Iro no Tane.
The motif of the character was that of a pig, and they were featured on a 15-second spot and four 5-second spots. According to Miyazaki however, this character is "a fictional creature of no gender, a symbol of curiosity and dreams that is in everyone's heart." The character has been used since then, but currently has been temporarily replaced by other mascot characters.
They have been released on both the Ghibli ga Ippai LaserDisc box set and the Ghibli ga Ippai Special Short Short DVD set.
Nandarō was produced in August 1992 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Nippon Television Network (NTV). The character was been used since.
It was designed by Studio Ghibli director and co-founder Hayao Miyazaki. It also appeared during the prologue of Porco Rosso. According to Miyazaki, the character is "a fictional creature of no gender, a symbol of curiosity and dreams that is in everyone's heart."
It was planned to be used for only one year while accompanied by the catchphrase "I am in everyone", during the opening of the 40th anniversary of the station. In place of the Nippon Television company emblem, the sign for "Production work (Nandarō) 40th Nippon Television" was used.
In 1993, a stuffed toy of Nandarō was used on set by the hosts of a popular programs of Nippon TV at that time, such as Game Zone!! (マジカル頭脳パワー!!), Quiz Sekai wa Show by Shōbai!! (クイズ世界はSHOWbyショーバイ!) and Omoikkiri TV (午後は○○おもいッきりテレビ). In 1992, Nandarō was seen on 24HOUR TELEVISION "LOVE SAVES THE EARTH (24時間テレビ 「愛は地球を救う」, which actually boosted its ratings. It also appeared before the short animated series, Sora Iro no Tane. By 1994, Nandarō became the official mascot of the network.
Since April 2014, Nandarō was nearly taken out of the network's broadcast. He had been replaced by a character from the show, DA BEAR (ダベア). However, the station clarified that this did not mean that Nandarō had been terminated, and that he would continue to be used in the future. Fans noted the promotional poster for Studio Ghibli's When Marnie Was There, directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and released on July 19, 2014, featured Nandarō on the bottom of the art instead of the new NTV logo. During the pandemic in 2020 interrupting service for NTV, reruns were shown of old daytime dramas which featured Nandarō towards the credits.
- "Corporate History". Nippon TV. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
- なんだろう物語（日本テレビ）Archived 2006年1月16日.